What Can I Do with a Corrections Degree?

A degree in corrections prepares the graduate for entry-level positions in the corrections system. Depending on the degree level, a person can advance to positions such as supervisor or warden. Read on for more information. Schools offering Corrections degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Corrections Overview

A degree in corrections prepares graduates for entry-level positions in both federal and local prison systems. Entry-level correctional officers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to work within the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), state and local corrections agencies may accept applicants with just a high school diploma, although many prefer applicants with some college credits (www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About Corrections Officers

Median Salary (2018) $44,330 per year (for correctional officers and jailers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% decline (for correctional officers and bailiffs)
Key Skills Strong judgment, negotiation and communication skills, discipline, good physical health, alertness
On-the-Job Training New hires attend a training academy and additional on-the-job training

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

A correctional officer is responsible for guarding people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial. These professionals oversee people who have been convicted of crimes and sentenced to serve time in jails or penitentiaries. A major duty is processing offenders into the system. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, correctional officers supervised about 6.9 million adult offenders at the end of 2013. A correctional officer maintains security, prevents assaults and escapes and enforces the facility rules and regulations.

Nature of the Work

A degree program in corrections will give a correctional officer good communication skills to report both orally and in writing on the behaviors and actions of inmates. Correctional officers generally keep a log to report their daily activities. Those who directly supervise cellblocks must work unarmed and generally are equipped with a communication device to summon help if needed. A correctional officer must have good interpersonal communication skills to enforce rules and regulations of the facility.

Career Advancement

Higher education will ensure advancement in the field of corrections. A correctional officer can be promoted to administrative or supervisory positions with the proper training. These professionals sometimes transfer to other jobs, such as parole officer, probation officer or correctional treatment specialist.

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